A gay rom-com is currently rocking Bollywood.
The new film Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan is Bollywood’s first gay romantic comedy. The movie, with a titled meaning Be Extra Careful About Marriage, follows a gay man who tries to get his father to accept his boyfriend.
“We have an interesting message — of societal acceptance— albeit [presented] in a much more fun manner so that it reaches more people and helps them re-evaluate their pre-conditioned thoughts,” said Bhushan Kumar, managing director of T-Series, which produced the film, to the Jakarta Post. “When we heard the story, our first reaction was that it’s a perfect family entertainer that subtly speaks about the fact [that] love has no boundaries, no gender.”
While gay sex became legal in India two years ago, the country’s general public is still coming around to the idea of homosexuality and LGBTQ life. As such, gay characters are often made into jokes in mainstream entertainment. This film is the first of its kind to not only take gay love seriously but also make it the focus and adamant in its integrity. While Bollywood’s first major LGBTQ film with a lesbian couple came out last year, it was criticized for barely visible references to the same-sex relationship. That’s something critics can’t accuse of Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan.
“Friends, Shankar Tripathi [the father] is suffering from a very bad disease,” yells lead Ayushmann Khurrana in the film’s trailer, “and that disease is called homophobia.
“The point was not being apologetic about [gay love]; not depicting it as a problem, not taking it as a disease,” director Hitesh Kewalya told the Thomson Reuters Foundation, according to Sky News.
“Our industry, unfortunately, has survived on stereotypes … and I didn’t want to do that. That was my biggest responsibility,” he added. “I wanted to break every stereotype using this platform.”